Face Up to It: Francine’s Story


When you think of Africa and health issues, do you think of cancer? Chances are you don’t. There is a huge misconception that cancer is a “privileged” disease that only effects higher income societies. The truth of the matter is that cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and over 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries. The statistics are far greater when you incorporate all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 80% of all deaths in developing countries.

Francine is a perfect example of how the proper care can treat disease before it is too late. She was treated by our colleagues at Partners in Health at the Rwinkwavu Hospital in Rwanda

Listen to Francine’s story below then add your face to our global mosaic to show your support.

The UN Summit on Noncommunicable Disease will be held in NYC September 19-20. The meeting will raise the profile of NCDs on the global stage, mobilize the international community to take action, secure the commitment of Heads of State to lead the cross-government effort necessary to reverse the epidemic, and send a clear message to donors and funders. We ask you to show your support for people affected by noncommunicable diseases and ask your world leaders to Face Up to It and help people like Francine- like you.

The HIV/AIDS Special Session held in 2001 resulted in a Heads of State Declaration of Commitment that paved the way for an urgent international response. It also led to the creation of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, which has raised nearly US $10 billion in development funding for low- and middle-income countries. It is our hope that the UN Summit on NCD’s next month will create a similar call-to-action. We need your help to show the importance of this cause. If you have been affected by heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or cancer, please add your face to the mosaic and show your support.

Francine is living proof of the hope we can bring to survivors in developing nations everywhere. We?re not waiting on governments to take action; we?re showing them how it?s done. But to turn the global cancer crisis around, we need their help. Tell world leaders to “Face Up to It” and make the decision to address the NCD crisis just as they did in 2001 for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.


  1. Val Miller says:

    In South Africa cancer has somewhat of a stigma attached since cancer patients are also often HIV+. I am generalising, but I have done a little patient councelling in a government hospital representing CANSA.

    There is a desparate need for cancer awareness education in the disadvantaged areas, sadly HIV takes precedence in any official health campaigns.

    1. Thank you so much for standing up and sharing your voice. In 2001, the last UN session on global health, the global fund for HIV/AIDS and Malaria was formed supporting education, drug disbursement and infrastructure that has helped address the global burden of these diseases. Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and along with diabetes, heart and lung disease accounts for 60% of all deaths worldwide. You are right. We need to make these diseases a global priority. That is why the UN session in September is so important. We are calling on everyone to tell their world leaders to “Face Up To” the global health crisis of noncommunicable disease. Please ask your family and friends to visit faceuptoit.livestrong.org and add your face today!

  2. Elle says:

    Great article. My research has shown that cancer of course impacts everyone on the planet. The poor, those without access to medical care, those that live alone, single parents and basically the vulnerable tend to die from cancer. Society has no place for them and they are considered lepers left to die like a new new born colt without a mother. If you are one of those people stand up and fight for your life. That’s right. Stand up and tell yourself you are important, your are going to fight and reach out to organizations and information that can help you.

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